Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Lake Trout & other fish not caught!

Monday afternoon, I headed up to Elk Rapids (just north of Traverse City) to fish with my brother Gary.  We had a great fish dinner and then we headed out.

This is the 12' "Moody Judy" which was our father's fishing boat.  The boat launch is just a sandy beach that you pull your boat off the trailer.  Gary has a 9.9 hp motor and we started out into Gran Traverse Bay.  There were NO other boats in sight.  G T Bay is very shallow the first mile out.  Then it starts dropping off.  Since we were after Lake Trout & Whitefish we headed out until we hit the 100+ foot deph.  Then we started watching the fish finder to find fish!
This is looking at shore one and a half miles off.  The water is a little ripply but no whitcaps.  Having a small boat , we carefully assess the waves!
Gary has been very successful out here.  He caught 9 lake trout in 2 days.  He uses 20# braided line for sensitivity and a 4' section of flourocarbon leader with a swivel.  We both use a medium action, rather stiff spinning rod because these fish are heavy and can fight.  I used my 10# Yo-Zuri hybrid line.  The fish are feeding on minnows so the lures are minnow shaped.  Here is a picture of some of the lures. 

The first lure is a white/chrome Little Cleo, next a white(pearl) Swedish Pimple (Gary's favorite) Size 8 or 9, and the last two are Sand Dusters.  The sand duster is a locally made lead lure with a single hook on each end molted into the lead body.

You have to move around with your boat and find the large fish or baitfish on the fish finder screen. Then you try to use the motor to stay vertical over the fish as you lower your lure to them. Gary is good at keeping the boat running in reverse, neutral, or forwards staying right over the fish as long as you can.   The fish finder tells you the fish are 6, 10 or whatever feet off bottom. You let your 1 to 1 1/2 oz. lures down over 100 " until it hits bottom.  Then you start your jigging motion.  It is best to vary the jigging.  Sometimes you just bring it up a few feet quickly and let it flutter down under line control.  Sometimes you cause it to jig in place.  If no bites, you raise it up and let it flutter down.  It is hard to guess exactly where your lure is in relation to the fish at say, 14' off bottom.  Gary likes to flutter it 1-3' off bottom.  The fish are attracted to it and usually hit it on the way down.  After 20 minutes of not getting a bite , you move on to find hungry fish or slow learners.  We like SPED fish.....

Then, suddenly Gary's rod arches and throbs!

The fish is a big one and takes the drag out. Fighting a fish in 100+ ft of water takes a while.  Gary does a great job of adjusting the tension and drag to tire out the fish.  Soon it is time for me to put down my pole and get the tangle-free rubber landing net.  I don't know how Gary lands these big fish alone. 
The fish is now close to the boat and I net the fish head first as I was taught.  It won't fit in the net!!!  At least the head is in and I lift it into the boat.  Gary is having a climax and breathing hard.  I stay in my end of the boat until he slows his breathing.
Gary lets the fish return to the water to breed and/or breathe. Next, he manages to get another fish on and is fighting it up to the boat.  No, he doesn't share well.  He just invites me along to help land the fish and take his picture. The fish threw the hook right next to the boat.  Gary- 2, Donald - 0!! This fishing is just down to the beach, close to his house.  He can just go out for an hour or two whenever the lake is calm.  You have to go to the beach and assess the waves.  The next morning we headed down and put in the boat only to get out and have the waves increase and start some whitecaps.  It 'aint gonna get better', so.....off the bay we go.  It was a fun time for Gary and I enjoyed being on the water with my brother.  We did try Elk Lake that morning but nothing.  We tried the deep water, we moved around, we even parked by the old timers fishing out there.  I mean older that us!!  They were getting a few perch, we tried to jig up a few but to no avail.  I guess that is why "it is called fishing, not catching"!!  So goes day 124 in my fishing year.  There is always tomorrow, near my home, in my boat, on my river and just maybe I'll get lucky.


  1. I know that brother of yours; Gary .. I always thought he was just telling fish-tales. Thanks for the evidence.

    Great lesson too on how to ketch'em!

  2. Oh how my dad would have enjoyed reading your blog! Mom and I both did. It was nice to read that Gary has your dad's boat. I shared your blog with my brother Charles.